Do extracurricular activities affect academic performance of students? If so, how do sports affect student performance?
It has been a question on many people’s minds and research has confirmed that extracurricular activities do affect the performance of students academically. These activities may include, dancing, singing, acting, poetry, sports, watching television and many more. It has been left to the students, with a little help from their parents and teachers, to choose the activities they get involved in. Though class participation is the best way to improve student grades, people may wonder if participating in co-curricular activities contributes to academic performance.
In this paper, a consideration is made on the effect of sports on academic performance. Students have been known to enjoy participating in all kinds of sports for example soccer, rugby, baseball, basketball and many more. To get the details of these effects, I conducted an interview given by Dr. James Michael, Professor of Physical Education, Brookshine College. He gives an insight on how sports impacts on the academic performance of students. Secondly, I observed John Lennon and Andrew Edwards, students at the same college, one who is in the college Basketball team and one who does not participate in any sports. To validate this information, it was important to get information from valid literature on the same topic. Those are the steps followed to gather the information.
An expert in matters relating to sports and academic performance gave the following information. According to Dr. James Michael, Professor of Physical Education, Brookshine College, sports do in fact affect the academic performance of students. When asked whether this effect is negative or positive, he responded, “Research shows that the effect can be negative or positive”. He continues to say that, more positive effects are seen as compared to negative results. He says that participation in sports has been seen to produce a positive impact leading to improvement of grades. Participation in sports results in improved health and fitness thus having a greater positive impact than a negative one. He adds that, if physical activity like sport is included as a break to classes, improved participation, concentration and understanding was recorded. Dr. Michael continues to say that, participation in sports results in improved brain function and higher energy levels thus improved academic performance. He also says that sports help students psychologically to reduce stress levels and boost self esteem. On the contrary, if a student does not manage time properly, a negative impact on grades may be seen. When asked if schools should reduce the time given to sports, he says that this is not necessary.
The next step was to observe two students who share different views on participation in sports. John Lennon is a student in Brookshine College and is an avid member of the basketball team. He goes for practice everyday after classes for two hours. He also creates time during tea and lunch breaks to practice. On the other hand, Andrew Edwards says he is a serious student and does not participate in any sports whatsoever. I observed their activities for one week to see how participation in sports could affect academic performance. On the first day, they all arrived in class in time and during the lessons looked quite exhausted. At break time John, went to the pitch and played with his friends while Andrew stayed in class and read a short story. In the lesson that followed, John seemed more active and answered the instructor’s questions more often. This trend continued for the next few days with john seeming more energized after a few minutes of ball. Andrew seemed to stick to his books almost all the time and talked to very few students. However, John was more social and seemed to know most of his classmates by name. His instructors also seemed to know him more than they knew Andrew. Based on this experience, I can say that sports have a positive impact on the academic life of students.
Formal research has established that sports do affect the academic performance of students. “A positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance has been established” (Lee, Burgeson, Fulton, & Spain, 2007). This statement confirms that the effect of sports on student performance is positive. As seen earlier, participation in sports increases brain activity and improves blood circulation thus improving participation and concentration in class. “Extracurricular activities maybe of different categories” (Woods, 2006). These categories can be formal or informal. Watching television and films is termed as informal while participating in activities like sports and learning to play an instrument are formal activities. Informal activities can be detrimental to academic performance but formal activities are helpful.
Learning institutions like schools and colleges provide a superb environment for participation in sports. Some students may not have access to such facilities at home but can access them at school. “Participation in sports keeps student fit and healthy, resulting in improved grades” (Pellegrini & Smith, 1998). In these days of the obesity threat, children need enhanced physical activity to keep them fit. A student who is physically fit will find it easier to cope with the challenges of school life as compared to one who is not in shape. When students participate in sports, it takes their minds off books for a while so that when they get back to class, concentration is higher. In addition, by being part of the sports clubs, students get to have a sense of identity and improve their social skills.
In conclusion, the impact of sports to the academic performance of students is primarily positive. This means that students of all levels should be encouraged to participate in sports so as to nurture their talents and improve physical health. However, adequate advice should be given to students on how to manage their time so that they do not spend too much time on sports and forget their academics. Sports are a healthy part of student life and should be encouraged.
Lee, S., Burgeson, C., Fulton, J., & Spain, C. (2007). Physical Education and Physical Activity: Results from the School of Health Policies and Programs Study 2006.Journal of School Health, 77,435-463.
Pellegrini, A.D., & Smith, P.K. (1998) Physical activity play: The nature and function of a neglected aspect of play. Child Development, 69:577-598.
Woods, R. (2006). In Social issues in sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
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